Exit polls: Likud closes gap with Zionist Union


Exit polls conducted by Israeli TV channels indicate that the leading party blocs are likely to win the same number of seats in the next Knesset.

This means that current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will have a legitimate claim to form the next government, even though both groupings will seek coalitions on the left and right.

In what is being seen as a major turnaround for Likud in the final few days of campaigning, Mr Netanyahu’s party is estimated at taking 27 or 28 seats – up around six seats since the final pre-election poll closed on Friday.

Likud appears to have almost completely closed the gap with Zionist Union, which exit polls suggest will also take 27 seats.

Kulanu, Moshe Kahlon’s newcomer centrist party, is estimated at delivering 9-10 seats. With the two major groupings at parity, this result indicates that Mr Kahlon will be the kingmaker in the negotiations over what kind of coalition should form the government.

US commentator Jeffrey Goldberg tweeted: "Moshe Kahlon is now the world's most powerful Libyan."

Yonahan Plesner, president of the Israel Democracy Institute, said: “There is everything to play for in the next few days.

“This was an impressive comeback by Mr Netanyahu. The media blitz in the past few days worked well.

“Likud took votes from other right wing parties such as Shas and Jewish Home.”

Mr Plesner added: “Both Netanyahu and Herzog will try to form their own government; if they fail they will go for a national unity government”

Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein told an election event earlier this evening that it was unlikely that results would be known before Friday.

This final numbers will be published on Thursday – by which time the 150-200,000 army votes will have been counted.

Mr Edelstein said that the question of whether some of the smaller parties had passed the 3.25 per cent electoral threshold would not be known until then.

The voter turnout is estimated at around 72 per cent, which marks a reversal of the downward trend since 2009. Election observers put the high turnout down to the fact that it was a very close race.

Zionist Union MK Nachman Shai said about the exit polls: “I am very pleased that Zionist Union doubled its political power, it’s a major success. It may not be enough to form a government.

"However, we believe we can build a coalition, I advise everyone to wait 48 hours before drawing conclusions. This is a tie, so there is no reason for Likud to celebrate.”

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive